Cell Phone Studies That Never Existe?
Thousands of Studies?
The cellular telephone industry unwittingly created the
first impossible task for its new research chief. In the
wake of the first wave of scare stories in the news media
and panic selling of cell phone stocks on Wall Street, the
industry had offered instant reassurance.
On January 26, 1993, a senior Motorola executive told
reporters that "thousands of studies" had already shown
cellular phones were safe. It was a classic overstatement
that all in the industry would regret enormously.
News accounts everywhere began referring to the existence
of thousands of studies as if it were, in fact, a fact.
Carlo found himself swept into the rushing stream of
assuring rhetoric, as he too was quoted on several occasions
talking about these thousands of studies. Naturally, news
reporters began asking the industry to make those 1,000
studies public. Carlo put his staff to work at the task. A
research firm was contracted to conduct a huge Internet
database search for the thousands of studies. But thousands
of studies were not to be found. Months later, the CTIA
staff was still scrambling, to no avail.
On July 13, 1993, the CTIA's director of industry relations,
Cilie Collins, wrote an urgent plea to Dr. Om Gandhi, of the
University of Utah, one of the pioneer scientists in the
field of cellular telephone research. "We need copies of any
studies that are pertinent to this issue to be available to
the press," Collins wrote. "As you know, one of the main
causes of the cancer-scare media coverage was that the
industry was unable to produce the 'thousands of studies'
that have been conducted on the cellular phone frequency."
There was of course only one reason why the industry was
never able to produce evidence of those "thousands of
studies" that said mobile phones were safe: The studies did
not exist. The entire industry regretted its initial
reflexive-response "thousands of studies" posture, as
journalists began to view a bit more skeptically every
assertion the industry would make during the coming years of
political and scientific war-games.